Your love of food and restaurants, combined with a little talent for writing, can get you some extra income or even a full-time job. You can take several different paths to get paid for writing restaurant reviews, also known as becoming a food critic. These paths differ primarily in your target venue and time commitment. Regardless of which path you choose, your first steps will be the same.
Look for a publication you would like to sell your restaurant review to or become a food critic for. This could be a local newspaper, food magazine or website. When considering a newspaper or magazine, check whether it already has a regular restaurant reviewer. You are unlikely to be able to displace an established columnist. Alternatively, you may choose to start a food blog and self-publish your restaurant reviews. Working toward a columnist position in a newspaper will require commitment to a part- or full-time position, while occasionally submitting to magazines or writing your own blog will allow you to work as many or as few hours as you want.
Send a query to your target publication asking if it is accepting restaurant reviews. If all goes well, you will probably be asked to do a test review. If not, find another publication and repeat the process. Once you have a review request, research the publication to determine its style so you can write a review that will fit with it.
Choose a local restaurant that your target publication has not already reviewed. This restaurant should be locally owned restaurant, not a chain, and have been open for at least a few weeks. Visit the restaurant multiple times for different meals, if possible. Be sure that the restaurant does not know you are there to review it.
Write your review of the restaurant. Cover the important factual information about the restaurant, such the name, location, hours and type of cuisine. Use descriptive language to discuss the quality of the cuisine, atmosphere and service. Submit your review to the publication, or publish it on your food blog.
Continue publishing reviews on your blog or querying publications. You need to build a body of work as you search for a permanent position. Be prepared to be rejected many times as you work to be paid for your restaurant reviews.
Kaylee Finn began writing professionally for various websites in 2009, primarily contributing articles covering topics in business personal finance. She brings expertise in the areas of taxes, student loans and debt management to her writing. She received her Bachelor of Science in system dynamics from Worcester Polytechnic Institute.